Chapter 11: Using Essential Oils During Pregnancy
- Essential Oils and Aromatherapy for Health
- Safe Use of Essential Oils
- Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Safe Application of Essential Oils During Pregnancy
- Creating Your Own Essential Oil Pregnancy Plan
When you’re expecting a little one, there are all kinds of concerns about your health and safety. Whether you’ve been using essential oils for a long time or you’re new to the practice, it’s important to know how to use them safely throughout your pregnancy and during birth.
While essential oils and aromatherapy are generally considered to be safe, there are essential oils you should avoid during pregnancy. There are also essential oils that can be lifesavers while you’re dealing with the changes in your body and your life that pregnancy can trigger.
In this report, you’ll learn more about why essential oils and aromatherapy are beneficial for your health as well as how to use them safely. You’ll also be able to identify which essential oils you should avoid during pregnancy.
Additionally, we’ll take a look at some specific conditions you may experience while pregnant and which essential oils are the best to use in those circumstances and how to use them. You’ll find that essential oils can be your best tools for a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Essential Oils and Aromatherapy for Health
Essential oils have become very popular over the last decade, but they are hardly new. People have used essential oils for thousands of years to improve health and general wellbeing.
These oils come from plants and can be extracted from flowers, leaves, stems, and roots depending on the oil. They’re highly concentrated and it can take huge amounts of plant material to make a tiny vial of oil. This high concentration means you get a potent product.
While it may seem like plant oils can’t do much for you, the opposite is true. These oils can have a big impact on your health. Many people start by using one or two essential oils and quickly ramp up their use when they see how effective they can be.
There are many compelling reasons to turn to this type of healing. For one, essential oils are 100% natural. Many people find comfort in knowing that what they put into their bodies isn’t synthetic or harmful. Essential oils work with the body to create healing.
Essential oils are also affordable. There can be a wide range of prices when it comes to oils depending on the type of plant and how difficult it is to extract the oils. You may also notice that some oils are pure while others have added carrier oils.
The price for pure oil is going to be higher than essential oil that has been diluted with other oils such as coconut or olive oil. But even the most expensive essential oil is frequently less expensive than pharmaceuticals used to treat illness.
When it comes to essential oils, you’ll also have fewer concerns about side effects. While it’s not impossible for an essential oil to cause a side effect, the incidence of this is much lower than many drugs.
Safe Use of Essential Oils
Essential oils can be very effective, but it’s important that they’re used correctly and safely. Read on for the best ways to use essential oils and how to do so in a way that does no harm.
There are basically three ways that essential oils can be used. Essential oils can be applied topically to the skin, either pure or mixed with a carrier oil, they can be inhaled through aromatherapy, or they can be ingested. Let’s delve deeper into these three approaches.
Many essential oils can be applied topically. This means applying a few drops to your skin and allowing the oils to be absorbed by the skin which eventually takes them to the bloodstream where they can get a ride to the rest of your cells.
Some essential oils can be added directly to your skin undiluted or “neat” without problems. But some oils are so strong that they can become toxic when applied directly to the skin. For these oils you need to create a blend with the essential oil and a “carrier” oil.
Oils that work well for this purpose include fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and jojoba oil. You can also add essential oils to lotions, bath salts and even straight to bathwater in some cases.
You’ll need to research each essential oil you want to use to determine what is safe for applying neat and what needs to be diluted. You may even want to use a permanent marker to mark your vial so that you don’t have to memorize this.
Aromatherapy is one of the most popular ways to use essential oils. With this method, you inhale the fragrance of the essential oils to get the benefit. But how can just inhaling the fragrance be effective?
When you inhale the fragrance what you’re actually inhaling is small molecules of the essential oil that have been dispersed into the air. These molecules travel through your nasal passages where they can be absorbed into the tissues directly.
Eventually they make their way into the bloodstream and can be distributed to all the cells of your body. Aromatherapy is a pleasant way to treat many health conditions and improve your overall well-being.
To use essential oils in this way, you’ll need some way to diffuse the oils. There are many options here. For example, you can do something as simple as add a few drops of oil to a cotton ball and place it near you.
You can also place the cotton ball in a plastic bag and open it once in a while to inhale the fragrance. Diffusing jewelry is another option that can allow you to use essential oils in a necklace or bracelet. These typically have cotton pads inside of them where you add essential oils.
If you want to experience aromatherapy in a larger area such as your office or a room in your home you can purchase a room diffuser. These use water and essential oils to create a mist of essential oils throughout an area.
This can be helpful for helping keep your family healthy during cold and flu season or creating peace and calm throughout a space. Diffusers are widely available in a large variety of sizes and price ranges.
The third ways oils can be used is by ingesting them directly. Some oils are safe to ingest while others are not. It’s important to do some research before ingesting oils and determine if it is safe or not.
One starting point for this is the FDA Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. This can give you an idea of which oils you can ingest and which ones to avoid. Additionally, you also need to look at how much you use.
Even oils that are safe to ingest can be ingested at toxic levels. Often when we talk about ingesting oils we’re looking at a drop to a few drops at a time. You can purchase essential oil guides that give you a better idea of safe dosage.
One other consideration is the quality of the oil you ingest. Some oils are specifically manufactured with the idea of ingesting them in in mind. They are organic and have no other artificial additives. It’s important to choose these oils if you plan to ingest them.
It’s also important to consider your reasons for ingesting oils. Oils shouldn’t be taken orally to prevent health conditions. Rather, they are used to help treat illness. By taking them “preventively” you can overuse them as well as waste them.
In addition to how you use an essential oil, it’s important to pay attention to how an essential oil may interact with any other medications you’re taking as well as health conditions you have.
While essential oils can be very safe to use, they can also be very powerful. For example, if you’re taking a blood thinner you want to avoid essential oils that further thin the blood as this can create a dangerous situation.
Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy
While there are many essential oils that are safe during pregnancy, there are some that aren’t. It’s important to know which ones you should avoid as these could endanger you or your growing baby.
One of the most important things you can do is to research an essential oil before using. It can help to have a resource to help you understand which oils should absolutely be avoided.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy has produced a list as well as provided some additional resources for knowing which oils to avoid. This list can be found at https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety#other.
There is also some controversy around the point of your pregnancy when you use them. Some people have concerns about using essential oils during the first trimester of pregnancy because of risk of miscarriage. However, this time of pregnancy carries the greatest risk regardless of essential oil use and there is no evidence that essential oils have caused miscarriage.
Another reason for concern is that pregnant women pass along nutrition to their babies’ through the placenta. That means that some of the essential oils used may end up in the baby’s bloodstream as well. According to the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies, there are some essential oils that should be avoided, but most are safe when used properly.
If you have concerns, it’s always best to talk with your healthcare provider. Together you can decide what is best for you.
It’s also important to use the smallest amount of essential oil you can to achieve the benefit you seek rather than taking large amounts of oils during pregnancy. You may also have a more positive experience if you stick to oils that you’ve used before and know have no negative effects for you.
Safe Application of Essential Oils During Pregnancy
While pregnancy can be a beautiful and exciting time in your life, it can also come with some new complaints. Essential oils can help you to experience relief of pregnancy related ailments.
In this chapter you’ll learn the go-to essential oils for some of the most common pregnancy conditions and how to use them most effectively. Adding essential oils during your pregnancy can improve the way you feel and allow you to enjoy the experience even more.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is very common in the first trimester. In fact, according to researchers it occurs in up to 80% of pregnancies. It can have varying degrees of severity from woman to woman from mild queasiness to frequent vomiting. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1635459/)
Regardless of where you fall on the scale of severity, morning sickness is no fun. Essential oils such as ginger, peppermint, and chamomile can help you to get relief. You’ll want to add a few drops of one or more of these oils in a diffuser.
Heartburn is also a common problem during pregnancy. This can be caused by hormones as well as the physical pressure a growing baby places on your stomach and esophagus.
The best essential oil for heartburn during pregnancy is peppermint oil. Many people find that adding a drop or two to an ounce of milk and drinking it provides relief. You can also rub peppermint, ginger, or lavender oil on your belly or chest to get relief. Just one or two drops will do.
By the end of your pregnancy, it’s likely you’ll experience some swelling in your legs and ankles. Essential oils can help to reduce swelling naturally and provide you with relief from the discomfort.
Cypress, lemongrass, and grapefruit oils can be added to fractionated coconut oil and massaged into the skin around your swollen ankles. The oils plus the massaging action will both help reduce your swelling.
Relaxation and Sleep
With your changing body and fluctuating hormones, sleep can become challenging. You may also struggle with sleep due to stress and anxiety. Essential oils can really improve your quality of relaxation and sleep.
The top choice for relaxation is lavender. This oil is typically very safe and can help you to have reduced anxiety and improve your sleep. You can diffuse it into the room where you sleep or add a few drops of it to your pillow before bed.
Additionally, you can add a few drops to coconut oil to use as a moisturizer or to add to your temples.
During pregnancy you may have times when your energy levels soar, but there can also be times you feel tired and fatigued. Essential oils can help to boost your energy levels, so you can face whatever tasks lie ahead.
One of the best choices for this is lemon essential oil. You can diffuse this oil to help you feel more energized. Orange and bergamot oils can also give you a lift and brighten your energy.
Hemorrhoids are an unfortunate addition to life during pregnancy. These are varicose veins that are under the skin around your anus. They become swollen and can itch and bleed.
Essential oils can help you to get relief from discomfort. You can add a drop of cypress, lavender, and marjoram essential oils and five drops of geranium essential oil to one tablespoon of fractionated coconut oil to create a soothing blend. Apply it directly to the affected area as needed.
While not every woman who has a baby develops stretch marks, many do. These are a result of skin that has to stretch quickly to accommodate a growing baby. By using essential oils you can help reduce the appearance of these lines.
You’ll need to create a blend of oils that you massage into your belly and other areas such as your breasts, hips, and thighs twice daily. Start with one ounce of fractionated coconut oil and add five drops each of frankincense and lavender. Then take six vitamin E capsules and break them open to add the liquid to the mix. Store this in a glass container.
After baby is born, your body will undergo a big hormonal shift. This shift often leads to feelings of sadness and even depression. There are many ways to see help for this condition and it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing these symptoms.
There are several essential oils that can be beneficial including bergamot, lavender, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang. Diffusing one or more of these into the room can give you an emotional lift.
Creating Your Own Essential Oil Pregnancy Plan
Essential oils, when used properly, can make a wonderful addition to your wellness regimen while pregnant and after pregnancy. It’s important to do some research before using individual oils to make sure they are safe during pregnancy and that you’re using them correctly.
Overall, though, essential oils are a natural way to experience relief from some of the challenges of pregnancy while avoiding toxins and chemicals that could have negative side effects.
Ultimately, you’ll need to create your own plan for using essential oils based on your specific symptoms and needs.